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  1. #1
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    Question Another newbie, general concerns about "rescue" gecko


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    Hello folks, sorry in advance for the incoming info dump.
    I have been researching leopard gecko care for the past month or so in preparation for owning one, and last week an opportunity arose to "adopt" one off kijiji from a family who had purchased one for their young son that was no longer interested in the gecko. They advertised him as tame, with all housing/some food included, and that he was just under a year old (though when they dropped him off it was implied that he was at minimum 13 months+).
    My concerns stem from the care he was receiving for his first year(+) and the effects that could have on his health in the future. I wasn't quite prepared for his setup to be so poor, I have ordered many new things to improve it though, just waiting on some mail items.

    My biggest concern stems from his diet. They were feeding Fluker's freeze dried crickets, dusting with repti-calcium with D3 only, no other supplements for atleast a year. He does not appear to have MBD symptoms yet that I know of, and I don't know the symptoms for D3 overdosing if any, his limbs do jitter a bit when he walks slowly (he seems to run fine), I don't know if that is a sign or just normal behavior. I purchased live crickets and fluker's calcium gut load and moisture feeds for them, as well as meal worms for some variety (when I put the live feed in his enclosure for the first time I don't think I've seen such excitement from a lizard before). I did pick up Repashy Calcium Plus as in my early research I saw many recommendations for it but now that I have researched more it seems different supplements may be preferable for a (possibly) full grown leo feeding schedule, but I see conflicting opinions on that. I'd definitely appreciate some experienced opinions on supplementation after being malnourished for so long to hopefully prevent future health problems.

    Secondly, his enclosure situation is also poor as you can imagine from his origins. He is in (what I estimate is) a 10 gallon tank (20 long x 10 deep x 12 high?), which I know is the bare minimum for an adult leo, I am looking to upgrade this early next year to a 20+ long/low front door style tank, but in the meantime I am trying to make his current tank as habitable as possible. They only had one hide, a dry hide with dry moss inside it. The enclosure is heated with day/night(red) bulbs in a double light fixture, with paper towel substrate. There were also feeding and water dishes (and reptisafe for the water).
    I've since bought a UTH, JumpStart thermostat, CHE with lutron for heat supplementation (ambient room temp is a chilly 66 in my apt in the winter and out of my control), a cool hide and a moist hide (exo terra cave arrived today), digital thermo/hygro. Due to the small size of the tank I don't think I can get the humid hide and dry hot hide on the UTH (although I've seen people say not to put the humid hide on UTH but Elizabeth's care guide seems too recommend it - I've been extensively lurking and learning the last few days).
    I have not set up the UTH yet because the package says not to use it with paper towel substrate. I did purchase sand (don't freak out yet) to put as a base layer for heat diffusion with textured ceramic tiles on top, but the shops here don't cut tiles so I am awaiting a tile cutter delivery from amazon in the next day or two before I can switch over his substrate.

    I am also having a problem with humidity, probably because of the bulbs heating being too hot but I can't get it above 30% (ambient outside of the tank is 45-55%) with the water dish and I put his old feed dish in full of damp moss but no improvement. I'm hoping this will improve when I get his UTH/CHE setup and the moist hide in.

    Despite their claim that he is tame I haven't been able to hold him yet, which concerns me because how will I "renovate" his enclosure if I can't take him out of it... I am guessing he was tame at one point but as the child lost interest/stopped handling him maybe he is no longer used to it. He doesn't seem to mind when I leave my hand in the tank, I've gently stroked his sides with a finger tip and lighty touched his toes, and once he stood one foot on my hand but that's the extent so far, I am honestly afraid to attempt to test scooping him up as he tried to bite me the first time I tried to touch him (but it was my fault I did not approach slowly enough and too "vertically" -which is hard not to do in such a small enclosure). I haven't been able to sex "him" yet either as I can't hold him to look, but I think there is a small bulge when I look sideways at him.

    He was very curious the first few days here but now he is staying in his hide it seems later and later each night, he then comes out at night and mostly just basks under the red light. Although he is alert and checks me out or looks the the things on my desk, and he is very alert when I put live food in and chases the crickets all over (he's not great at catching them yet they usually jump away as he strikes, I've been herding them back towards him to make it easier as the try to hide under the paper towels).

    Here he is, his name is Mateo, he is approx. 9 inches from tip to tip. I have also linked a video as I have seen that requested in other newbie threads. Thank you for your time and advice
    https://vimeo.com/301979359

    O81CfAO.jpg

  2. #2
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    Nice looking albino leopard gecko. Here are some of my responses to your questions (there is more than 1 way to do things, so don't be concerned if you hear some different opinions):

    Supplementation: I guess it's better that the gecko was getting calcium+D3 as opposed to not getting it. I think if you begin to dust feeders every other feeding, the gecko will get the proper amount of supplement. I have been using Repashy Calcium Plus since 2009 with good results, including 9 years of breeding with it.

    Housing: You're right, a 20 gallon long is best. For now, as long as you have a thermostat, you should be able to use your heat mat with paper towel. I put the humid hide wherever I can fit it and don't worry about which side of the enclosure it's on. I don't worry about humidity at all. Here in New England, the ambient humidity is very low in the winter with our forced hot air heat and pretty high in the summer without AC. Everybody is fine!

    Taming: some geckos never like to be held. For best results, scoop him up from below, not above. Hold him in the palm of one hand and make a cave for him with the other hand. You can also let him walk from hand to hand like a gecko treadmill. Worst case, if you need to, you can scoop him into a deli cup when you have to move him and "pour" him into a temporary enclosure while you work on his current one.

    Aliza
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    I don't have a leo, so am not much help with your questions, but just wanted to say that he looks healthy and fine, and I'm sure he is going to love his new tank and all of the improvements you will make to it!

    I am wondering if Aliza or Elizabeth or someone with experience can tell me about the infrared light. I have a crestie and garg, and they say not to use the red light at night as the geckos can see red and it makes them think it's daylight. Is that also true for leo's?
    Eileen and Repti-Friends
    TAD (Tiny Ancient Dinosaur) - Crested Gecko 1.0.0
    Hidey - Gargoyle Gecko 0.1.0
    OhGee (Office Gecko) - Bauer's Chameleon Gecko 1.0.0
    TBD (Tiny Badass Dragon) - Western Bearded Anole 1.0.0
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    Thanks for the reply, Aliza (and for making it through my wall of text haha).
    I did not know he was albino so thanks for pointing that out, I haven’t looked into colours/morphs yet at all so I was unaware. Your feedback and experience on supplementation and housing definitely helped relieve some of my anxiety over the manner. I just want my boy to be happy and healthy!
    I was able to finally scoop him up last night (I think this was mostly a confidence issue on my part after our first failed attempt) and he was very well behaved, we did some “hand treadmill” and he crawled all over my arms and sweater haha. At one point he just lay his belly down in my palm for the warmth. It was awesome
    @GeckoLeen Thank you for the words of encouragement. As for the red light, in all the research I’ve done the consensus seems to be that red light was sold as a night bulb because lizards can’t see the colour red, however they can still see the light, just not that’s it’s red so it is still similar to daylight for them and should not be used (except maybe for night viewing but it should not be left on for extended periods). It seems it is mostly a gimmick used to sell easy heat sources to uninformed parents and new lizard owners.

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    I've heard evidence on both sides of the issue whether geckos can see red light, but I suspect (but don't know for sure) that geckos in general can't see infra red light, which is different from red light (humans can see red light but not infrared).

    Aliza

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